On Monday, a quick scare came out of Tallahassee. According to Bud Elliott of SB Nation’s Tomahawk Nation, adored wide receiver and punt returner Rashad Greene injured one of his fingers toward the end of practice. While Greene should be back in time for the season, he will miss an undetermined number of practices. The jolt should instantly remind Florida State fans of a recent trend.
The Seminoles have been losing receivers and tight ends like there’s no tomorrow.
Coley Harvey of the Orlando Sentinel names the victims, citing the injury bug has also gotten wide receiver Jarred Haggins with tight ends Jeremy Kerr and last year’s Penn State transfer Kevin Haplea. All are out for the upcoming 2013 season.
Others, such as Willie Haulstead and Greg Dent, are in hot water either academically or have legal issues to sort out. Haulstead no longer suits up in a Seminole uniform due to his academic ineligibility, as head coach Jimbo Fisher kicked him off the team earlier in the year.
Tally it up and the Seminoles are missing one receiver (two at the present time), and four tight ends. Having inexperience at the tight end position means the Seminoles’ unnamed starting quarterback will have to compensate.
Which brings us to the main question: which quarterback should Fisher utilize knowing some of his starters are out for the year?
I, like many, have uttered many praises about Jameis Winston. The two-athlete star had a tremendous spring game and was the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2012. True, Jacob Coker is a tremendous NFL prospect, but that’s exactly what he is: a pro-style quarterback. With the tight end spot weakened, Coker would have to be ready to scramble this year as the starting quarterback—something that is one of Winston’s natural talents.
In addition, Coker had an ankle injury in the spring—if he injures it again getting sacked, who knows how serious it could be? Given the current situation, I would not start recently recovered goods over an uninjured player.
While Coker has an extra year of reps under his belt and more familiarity with the receivers, his lack of scrambling ability concerns me. Scrambling quarterbacks like Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and E.J. Manuel have not only had more success than their contemporary pure passers in the ACC, but also on the national stage. For every A.J. McCarron and Aaron Murray, there’s a Marcus Mariota and Johnny Manziel. What it comes down to is what system works best for every player.
Does Jimbo Fisher want a quarterback controversy to confuse FSU's opposition?
I’m starting to think that Coker should graduate from FSU this year and seek to transfer. This Alabama native has real talent, but owes it to himself to find a system that can utilize his passing style more effectively.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
Ryan Mallett used to be a quarterback for Lloyd Carr at Michigan, but left once Rich Rodriguez installed the pro offense in Ann Arbor. After having great success at Arkansas, he’s now the back-up for Tom Brady in the NFL.
Leaving FSU won’t hurt Coker’s pro chances: FSU runs a Multiple Offense. However, many variants of the pro-style offense still permeate college football’s elite schools. Both Georgia and Alabama excel at it, and each will be starting new quarterbacks after this season. Maybe Coker should team up with his old high school teammate, A.J. McCarron, and see if he could succeed McCarron as the quarterback for the Crimson Tide.
The world is still wide open for Jacob Coker. Let’s not write off the guy’s opportunities at Florida State just yet, but I won’t blame the guy for leaving if he’s a backup in 2013.